Menlo Park : London EC1 Cargo

...more >Fraggle Rock than, well, rock...

Taking their name from the place where psychedelic

pioneer Ken Kesey famously first dropped pure LSD,

an evening spent in the company of Menlo Park is

something akin to joining Kesey on that inaugural

trip, before ending up at a Greek wedding with a time

machine full of misfits.

Centering round Philadelphian Chris Taylor and – bizarrely –

world-music-loving MOR chump Paul Simon‘s son, Harper, this

quintet clearly don’t care about the season’s fashion

dictates: the bassist is a 40s Capone-alike gangster,

the viola player resembles nothing less than Lemmy in that

Kit Kat ad and Taylor himself flails about in a manner

that is more >Fraggle Rock than, well, rock.

Throwing wry, Martin Amis-style lyrical asides into the mix

of voodoo folk and, Menlo Park‘s raw, mangled

blues manages to unite everything from Tom Waits and Neil

Young to Radiohead and Dr. Dre. It ends with a sort of

rock’n’roll barn dance apocalypse: dressed like an evangelist

in some nineteenth century period drama, Taylor descends

repeatedly into the mass of brainwashed followers, baptising

his many new converts.

Andrew Future